Monday, May 21, 2012

The 'Good' Word

I despise the word good. Everything about this word from the meaning of it, the way our mouth has to move when we say it, straight down to the way it looks when its spelled out. 
This word is my enemy. 

We all have our pet peeves. Mine is anything that is 'good.' Especially when I feel like something I've done or created is just flat out good. Uhhhhh it's peeving me to write this. 

I'm a little bit of a perfectionist and this word is the epitome of the words fail, dull, lame, worthless, mediocre. I threw mediocre in there because as any other perfectionist would realize - mediocre - is unacceptable.

"To do something good is a complete waste of time. We must strive for greatness."

{The one & only exception to the use of this word is when my Granddad says 'Well that's real good'}

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Art of Expression

Alright so feelings just ain't my style. I'm not a mushy gushy type of girl. I suck at talking about my feelings. It's always been my downfall. I do a lot of thinking and thus most of the conversations I want or plan to have with people typically just stay in my head. This sucks, because quite often I find myself asking 'don't you remember me telling you ....' and the other person's response is 'Nope!' The kinda 'nope' where their heads tilts to the side, the lips get pressed together to form a thin line, their eyes bulge just a little & they shake their head to the side once. 

I think this is why I paint, draw, write, etc. I feel like I am endlessly searching for a way to communicate. And as much as I want to work on this communication barrier that I own, I believe it is what gives me the inspiration to create. Thoughts of life & fantasy swarm through my mind all day. My artwork is my way of learning how things work, why things are the way they are & how visual sensations are transformed through the body, out through the arms & fingers, & into my own personal representation of them.

I'm engaged to a man that stilltwo years later, gives me butterflies... that uplifted, beautiful feeling of pure love (The kind I always thought didn't exist). I remember one night, when my fiance and I were sharing our feelings of love for each other, he beautifully declared his love for me. He is a writer and a gracious speaker. He makes great use of words and always finds a way to simply get his point across. With my lack of this great talent, I am easily swooned by his wonderful ability to create art with his words.

As I took my turn sharing my feelings, I found such trouble in explaining to him how much I loved him. I stumbled over every word, and it started to get all loose and abstract and ended in a five-hour discussion of how words don't give these feelings justice. I tried explaining how the thoughts in my head have all this color and beauty and motion and the words that come out of my mouth do not compare to what's happening inside. He told me something that stuck "It must be great in there, I wish I could see what you see," inside my head, with all this craziness happening. 



"Nothing learned is ever wasted"

Often I tell him how the words I form don't do these feelings justice, but words are an important way to communicate and share with others. It's not that I don't know enough words, or that you don't understand the words I'm using, it's just that these words are so frequently used that it tends to dull their meaning and when you're trying to find a way to communicate something so profound and deep, dull does not work. You know when you're talking to someone and they nod their head confirming they're listening, but you're doubting it in your head, well they are listening, but they're so used to these words that they become dull. Think for a second when you're out in public and you hear someone speaking a different language, it catches our attention. New words! 

I think this may have been what pulled me into learning Spanish, I appreciated the chance to learn new words, like it gave me the opportunity to create new meaning, a deeper, more profound connection. Sometimes when I'm talking I notice I'll throw in a Spanish word or two like it somehow increases the level of communication, grabs their attention and forces their brain to focus. I'm weird, I know this. 


Writing works pretty well for me though, I'm usually able to get out way more than if I have to speak it out loud. I get to organize my thoughts and visually appreciate the words I'm using. When I was in school I doodled all the time, I think I worked through a lot of my feelings with pen & paper, almost subconsciously. It's not until now that I realized how well that senseless doodling may have helped. 

I've been getting back into that and working on finding ways to incorporate that into my painting. A lot of my new pieces have text of some kind within them & under them :D

" My paintings are like onions, except you can't peel off the layers without causing damage to the shell.











Thursday, May 17, 2012

Workday Ch.2 - Corporate life

This ones about work.
I work for a large auto parts corporation and scheduling has become a fiasco. I believe this is a common experience for several corporate employees at the lower end of the totem pole.

First off there's not enough hours in the day to accomplish the work that needs done at the store level. There's always a new display to complete. My work gives us an estimated completion time for each display. Someone, somewhere, sitting in a desk, expects a 25 foot by 10 foot row of air filters to be redone in 2 hours, now lets be logical for just a second, this means one person is up & down a ladder taking parts off the shelf and putting parts on the shelf. The parts going on the shelf are in utter disarray within a 30000 sq. Ft. building. Repeat this step 25 times. This is at least an 8 hr project for one person providing all estimated shelf heights are exact and nothing needs redone or readjusted towards the end of the process (I am saying this from experience).

Secondly, the man power required to accomplish these goals is never permitted by corporate. No one is allowed over time and now, if I'm scheduled for 34 hours, I'm not allowed a minute over that. I must agree this looks easy and reasonable on paper. Oh the wonders. I can only imagine a day I clock in and out at the exact minute im scheduled for and the drive time never takes shorter or longer than I expect. So naturally I give myself an extra 10-15 to get to work so I'm never considered that obnoxiously tardy employee. So unnaturally I've gotten quite comfortable sitting in my car waiting 10 minutes to walk in the door because it is the preferable option before telling customers over and over again that I'm not on the clock, I can't ring them up, I can't use the computer to look up parts for them, I won't test their battery, look at their radiator hose, or install a light bulb for them. Seriously people would you work for free? If you answered yes you need a hobby. This is absolutely absurd. I don't know about you but I do not live to work. I work to live, I work to pay for all the wonderful things I need, like a car, a house, shampoo and toilet paper. The finer things in life. This wonderful job of mine that you expect me to perform for more hours of my day (thus lowering my hourly rate) does not even pay for me to afford a night out once a week. I work hard for my groceries, don't make it harder. I don't see u pulling a few bucks out of your pocket to tip anyways.

Third, once I'm clocked in there's a million things that need done to stay off 'the list'. And those wonderful 'do-it-yourself-ers,' who need a mechanic but no, they consider themselves mechanics, ask me where their spark plugs are, which one is the upper radiator hose, how many EGR Valves they have, where their brake light switch is... I mean this list goes on and on and I'm not saying everyone needs to know this, but this is a car we're talking about, a finely tuned machine that your life probably revolves around, don't do it yourself if you don't know these things. And even I know these things but I know enough to know that what I know doesn't mean I know enough to do this job correctly. Anyways back to 'the list,' just based on the frequency of these customers alone makes my 'project time' severely lessened, thus lessening the time I have to complete that 25 by 10 foot tower of air filters. 

But I'm not complaining, I choose to work here, I meet some great people, get to work with some crazy old mechanics, learn a whole bunch of foul jokes, learn something new every day & get the pleasure of making someone's day pretty often. Its a fun place if you can deal with the slow-learners, closed minded people and people who think they're outta blinker fluid. I know some of you work in the retail industry, but I've worked for clothing and food/restaurant companies and trust me, just be thankful. I know you get bad customers and are probably in a similar situation with all the corporate glamour, but not-so-skilled mechanics are a whole other breed, especially when they see a female at the counter & pretend to know it all :)

Time to go, the leaning tower of air filters just fell over. 

And I just slipped in oil. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Importance of Family: Mother's Day Special



I found some wonderful 'notes' I created on facebook last year about family and wanted to share, since after all it is Mothers Day. 


Card for my Mom 2012

This one I titled 'Immortal'


by Sierra Benson on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 10:52pm 


just some thoughts I've had about the meaning of family...

Family is what you make it.  To me, family is sacred - the roots and foundation of life and the branches of support throughout a lifetime. My childhood has given me all too many reasons to hold family sacred and understand the strength and virtue in its presence. Growing up in the same house all my life, next to the same neighbors and having the same gatherings with friends has given me a broad understanding of what family means. To me, as a child, families do not part, instead it is more like a tree growing and forming new branches.

Family is a term used to describe endless love, the purest and truest definition of these words. However, to me, the overuse of these adjectives may cause others to understand this sentence in a way unintended, and thus then be unable to fully cherish and understand the strength of power in what I am trying to explain.

Family is timeless. To my understanding, family does not ever end. Family never goes away, even in parting with existence. Its strength, power and loyalty cannot and should not be measured over the course of time, for it is something far greater. Family does not need any binding documents to declare this feeling. It cannot be legalized or terminated. You cannot sign a contract measurable in time exclaiming your duty and loyalty to it.

Family is undeniable. It is also undeterminable the time it takes for someone to become part of the family. However, once it occurs there is no going back. Family is the foundation of my understanding of the term unconditional. 



Here's another about a year earlier titled "As my sister puts it 'You can't pick your family, so don't be jealous of mine'."




by Sierra Benson on Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 12:26pm ·

I am so thankful to have a family that enjoys each other and truly understands the value of family bonds.

I have two miraculously strong parents that will always be there for you & go above & beyond to help all of their kids. They have always been supportive of all of us kids through everything we've been through, the good and the bad. They always seem to find a way to mend us and pull us back up through the rough times. They have taught us how to live our values & morals and how to stay strong when we need it most. We always find a way to stick together and support each other. We may not always like to be around each other, but family is sacred and we know that above all our love is unconditional.

I have two absolutely beautiful sisters & two amazing brothers.
My sisters are completely crazy and untamed but what could be better than that? Sasha is the kind of person who makes you think anything is possible & can brighten anyones day since she always has a smile on her face. Kara never gives up on anything and is now such a great mommy to her new baby Kaleena.

My brothers would do anything when it comes to family & can always make you smile. Adam is a great chef & a wonderful husband & father who works endless hours for his family. His wife is always kind & has raised 4 polite, caring & amazing children. Darick is the kinda guy who is talented in everything he does.

My family is a collection of three amazing families intertwined into one & I can't imagine a day without them. 
Thank you
Mom & Rick
Adam, Sasha, Kara & Darick
for making this family so special








I also wrote this about a year earlier, this one is more about me, but it also illustrates the love I have of family. This one was titled '25 Things'


by Sierra Benson on Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 9:17pm 

1. My family is #1 - I would do absolutely anything for them.
2. I consider my good friends part of my family.
3. My mom is my hero, she is an amazing woman.
4. I think my sister is the most beautiful person in the world inside and out.
5. I'm a taurus...
6. I am normally calm and easy going - it takes a lot to really get me mad.
7. I get really angry when someone crashes into my car.
8. If you ever realize you're not happy, stop and do something about it.
9. I am a total clean freak.
10. I love to organize.
11. Purple is my new favorite color.
12. If I could own any vehicle it would be a 1930's Chevy pick up truck.
13. I could jam out to almost any song.
14. I listen to a lot of hip hop & rap cuz I like the beats.
15. I love west virginia.
16. I love to make paintings
17. I love to put paint on everything.
18. I love experimenting with new techniques in art.
19. I think nature has a spirit no manmade structure could ever aspire to have.
20. I love being around the people I'm closest to because then I can truly be myself.
21. I think typically give too much of myself to help others.
22. I think giving always pays off in the long run.
23. I hate bad parents
24. I hate lying
25. I'm glad everyone is different - the world would be so boring if we were all the same.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Art: Ch.15

Oh have I spent soooo much time waiting. I'm sure we all have. It's exhausting and annoying and almost makes you feel defeated right? It sure does for me. 
BUT It is absolutely no sign of defeat!
Photograph taken by me in 2011 in West Virginia.


Another great quote 'Never lose your sense of wonder.' I am still one of those people who goes into that obvious shock of wonder at the littlest things. Sometimes it makes me feel like a kid, Oh I love that feeling! 

Photograph taken by me in 2011 in Grafton, West Virginia.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Art: Ch. 14

I've been reflecting on my life a lot lately and, while I've had my positive and not-so-positive days, I just went through a few weeks of down right misery, which considering the circumstances, was to be expected. I am currently going through the recovery stage now where I can literally feel the 'old me' grasping to claim it's place within my soul. The bubbly, cheerful, anxious, excited and, most importantly, 'happy me,' coming back. 

I remember the day I just felt so sick of the misery that I stopped and told myself this must end, it's time for this go away. It's time to focus on the positive, the bounty of things I still have in my life that I love, it's time to put my shoes on and face the world with a smile again. I've lived through the sorrow as a way of coping with some of the awful misfortunes in my life and there's nothing I like about those times, nothing I enjoyed about the pity and misery. Nothing good came from the dull, spiritless form of life I embraced during those times. Being happy, in my opinion, is a decision, and this may be harder for some than others, but it is ultimately a decision we make consciously or subconsciously, voluntarily or involuntarily, each day. 

I've had so many people tell me I was strong, mentally, for coping with some of the things that I've had to deal with in my life and I feel like it's honestly just because this 'strength' is the only thing left inside me. And I generalize this word 'strength' to fulfill the various forms in which strength can be applied. Strength, to me, in the intellectual sense is a drive or a force within a person that does not subside. It is a hunger so fierce and relentless that it takes the mercy out of demise and constructs defiant new paths to sanctity and bliss.

Not so obvious to me until now, would be that I possess this quality, the desire/perseverance/will/ambition/hunger/drive (you get the point) to live and live well, to find this defiant path to bliss. But I suppose it's obvious right, Cuz I'm still here! Traveling down this treacherous terrain in order to perpetuate my happiness. 

And thus goes the the creation of my new print: "We never realize how strong we are until it's the only resource we have left." Don't ever underestimate your strength, fuel the rapture veiled within and succumb to it's presence, it's undeniable presence. 



On to my other newest print...

I love the quote by Socrates "Beware the Barrenness of a Busy Life." I personally know this all too well and this is one of the many things I'm working on in my life. This print has brought me so much inspiration and has reminded me to slow down and enjoy life. I hope this print can do the same for you. The picture in the background was taken by me in Savannah, Georgia along the Savannah River on River St. To me this photograph exemplifies the ultimate meaning behind this quote, serene peace found in the glory of our surroundings.



I have also attached a color chart to some of my customizable prints in hopes this may provide inspiration or just make shopping easier. As always, I can match almost any color, just keep in mind that color may vary as it goes from media to media.